Ranking the Chargers head coaching candidates

The Sporting Tribune's Fernando Ramirez ranks all of the head coaching candidates the Chargers have been linked to thus far.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Chargers have requested to interview or interviewed 13 candidates for their vacant head coaching job.

Because of the talent on the team and quarterback Justin Herbert this makes the job even more attractive.

So, how do the candidates rank?

Here it is:

13. Giff Smith- Chargers interim head coach

The team showed fight in their final three games of the season and players raved about the job Smith did. He did interview for the job and he is loved in the locker room.

Dec 23, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers interim head coach Giff Smith reacts during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

12. Leslie Frazier- former Bills defensive coordinator

Frazier has waited for over a decade for his next head coaching opportunity. He was previously with Buffalo for six seasons but didn’t return for his seventh and decided to take a year off.

11. Aaron Glenn- Lions defensive coordinator

The Lions defense hasn’t been very good this season but they have had moments of toughness like against the Cowboys and the Rams. He is in line to get a head coaching job just like OC Ben Johnson.

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn high-fives cornerback Cam Sutton during warmups before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023.

10. Kellen Moore- Chargers offensive coordinator

His stint with the Chargers this season was lackluster to say the least. There were some positives with Herbert, which is important. The offensive line was below average and the run game was non-existent besides the game against the Dolphins.

9. Patrick Graham- Raiders defensive coordinator

The Raiders defense showed a lot of heart and grit this season especially after they made the coaching change. Graham has been a hot commodity the last two coaching cycles.

8. Steve Wilks- 49ers defensive coordinator

Wilks is respected as a coach around the league and should have been the Carolina Panthers head coach in 2022. As the interim, they went 6-6 and once he was passed up players weren’t happy.

Wilks was also a secondaries coach for the Chargers from 2009-2011.

7. Raheem Morris- Rams defensive coordinator

Morris has worked his way up from his previous head coaching stint that surprisingly was way back from 2009-2011 with Tampa Bay. He has been successful with the Rams this season and helped developed several rookie and second year players that helped contribute to their defense.

6. Dan Quinn- Cowboys defensive coordinator 

Before last Sunday, Quinn would have been higher on the list but his defense under performed against the Green Bay Packers. Receivers were left open, they couldn’t stop the run, and they couldn’t pressure Jordan Love.

 Quinn is a veteran coach that led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl even though it was the 28-3 game. 

5. Todd Monken- Ravens offensive coordinator

Monken was at Georgia from 2020-2022 then changed the style of his offense when he made the jump to the Ravens. Lamar Jackson is once again an MVP candidate. He could come in to work with Herbert, fix the weapons around him, and build a complete offense.

4. Mike Macdonald- Ravens defensive coordinator 

He is 36-years old but the Ravens defense has been impressive because of the different factors of it. They signed two pass rushers in Kyle Van Noy and Jadeveon Clowney late and both have been productive.

Their defense swarms to the ball and gets after the quarterback. He is on the young side but has learned from one of the best.

3. Brian Callahan- Bengals offensive coordinator

The Bengals offense has been consistent under Callahan and what they did after quarterback Joe Burrow went down was impressive. Jake Browning stepped in, stepped up, and they had a chance at making the playoffs.

2. Ben Johnson- Lions offensive coordinator

The Chargers could use an offensive minded head coach to bring out the best from Herbert. The way Johnson has revolutionized the offense in Detroit has made him one of the top candidates in this coaching cycle.

When he faced the Chargers he used a play on 4th down that was used against them in the comeback playoff game against the Jaguars.

1. Jim Harbaugh- Michigan head coach

There is no question that Harbaugh returning to the Chargers as their head coach would be a perfect marriage. He could instantly turn them into a consistent playoff team but it will take some tinkering with the roster obviously.

The pairing of Harbaugh and Herbert could become a dangerous one. This has to be number one.